Friday, 29 May 2015

Squeezing a Play Area Behind the Couch

If there's one thing I make room for in the house, it's play areas squeezed here and there.  You won't find beautifully elegant rooms in my home, no ma'am.  Signs of a child are in every random place possible.

I can't say enough on how having play within reach makes it easy for this working mama to create magical moments with my daughter at home; and how it helps her explore and learn even while I'm at the office.  This is the story of the play space behind our couch.  

Every year we do an affordable renovation project in the home we moved into seven years ago.  But with a kid joining our home six years ago it seems like I'm forever changing stuff and everything is half-finished as she grows.

This was the half-finished dining area two years ago.  I called it my dark corner project:
Every piece of furniture here is repurposed and recycled over and over our house

If you zoom out you can see why the dining area was teeny-tiny : 
because of Ladybug Girl's pretend-play area, of course.  It gets more use than our dining table.
See one of our most popular posts on this blog about the sweet shop set-up here
Then two years ago we went for a major renovation this time and knocked down that wall dividing the kitchen and dining area.  And glorious sunlight came flooding in!

How it looked when we first plopped stuff down after the dust settled.  Love the open layout!  We had the kitchen counter built and bought our first dining table. 

Beside the new dining table?  A play area.
Except for the table, these were all existing stuff rearranged.
The play area had her sensory drawer bin, and a huge play kitchen and grocery area.
After Christmas:

While it was fun, it looked and felt temporary.  She was losing interest too, so it was time to rotate play around and find a more semi-permanent place for everything.  That's how it became this way:

From where most people would stand, it's a little bit grown-up, a little bit not.  

Peek behind the couch and the play space is revealed in all it's inviting glory:

Our semi-permanent playspace layout

It was fun to decide on the wall decor to mark off the area:

Played around with Pantone postcards for Philippines Independence Day.  We've moved on though.

This space becomes a rotating area for the kind of play that makes a bigger mess.   
Easier clean-up than her bedroom!

There's a sandpuff sensory table:

A free table for a workspace or other play invitations.  Like this liquid watercolours art station - even with a white couch!  It's just a slipcover that can be washed.

The only new thing in this space is the sideboard console which has her cooking supplies.  I got rid of all the fake food and put out playdoh, moon dough and rainbow rice for her to make her own food:

Guests seem to love the play kitchen option so it continues to be around:

Cooking the rainbow rice and selling the food

Know what I love most about this play space?  Zoom out to this:

Guests are just on the other side of the couch!  We're all happy together in one room. 
The adults on the other side of the couch still supervise their kids.
And the baby guests are fascinated watching the older kids play.

When we have this adorable guest over, it's easy to keep her entertained there too:

If you have toddlers, you can easily customise the space for them to explore on their own

And that's the story of this shared-space saga.  I love that the space is so flexible for play and for grown-ups too.  The play invitations look a little different now from how it started.  
But that's for another story.

  Your turn!  How random can you get fitting play in your home?  
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See our other DIY play spaces in the gallery on the upper right side of the blog.

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